Repost from the old site. I’m sure you antisemites are going to eat this post for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
An excellent article by well-known Israeli Jewish columnist Sever Plocker (also known as Sever Plotzker), chief economics editor and deputy editor-in chief of the Israeli paper Yedioth Abaronot, recently appeared in the Israeli internet publication Ynet. Ynet is the website of the Yedioth Abaronot newspaper.
The piece, Stalin’s Jews, is one of the best things ever written on the subject of the relationship between Jews and (European) Communism, particularly the Bolshevik and Stalinist variety practiced in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
The subject is tendentious and very difficult for a sane progressive, let alone anyone else, to analyze and dissect.
It is not commonly known that Hitler’s main beef against European Jews was that they were Communists. In fact, European Communism itself (Bolshevism) was regarded as merely a Jewish plot. There was a certain amount of evidence in favor of this theory, as is often the case, but the Jewish = Communist equation has always been problematic.
Let it be known that this was Hitler’s (and his allies, including rightwingers in the US) principal beef against European Jews. Bolshevism was seen as a Jewish plot to conquer Europe in the service of the Jewish-controlled Soviet Union. Hitler was seen as a hero by many anti-Communists for his role in WW2. This is glossed as Hitler trying to save Europe from imminent Bolshevik takeover via the Soviet Union.
The fact that Nazism (and all fascist movements) was first and foremost a ferociously anti-Communist (and by extension, anti-socialist, anti-liberal and anti-trade unionist) movement makes the sickening rightwing claim that Nazism was a leftwing socialist movement all the more painful, insulting and dishonest.
The entirety of the World Left (with the shameful exception of Trotsky, who held that fascists were just as bad as any other capitalists and that Communists should be neutral in the war) mobilized against what they called The Great War Against Fascism. The Spanish Civil War, pitting Leftists, Communists and anarchists against fascists, was an early version of World War 2, and Hitler supported the fascists.
All, or almost all, anti-Nazi and anti-fascist resistance movements in Occupied Europe during wartime were either led by Communists, or Communists played a major role.
The Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939, ignorantly portrayed by anti-Communists as a marriage of ideological allies, was nothing of the kind. Stalin knew that Hitler was going to attack the Soviet Union, and Stalin was simply trying to gain time and obtain a buffer zone.
The fact that, as Eric Hoffer noted in The True Believer, in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s, various folks moved between the Nazis and Communists, is misleading. Anti-Communists use this anecdote to say that Communism and fascism are both forms of political fanaticism, and Communism and fascism are really just different forms of the same thing.
This analysis ignores that for a long time before the Nazi Left purge with the Night of the Long Knives, the Nazis attempted to portray themselves as a left wing, or even socialist, movement, in order to divide and co-opt the Left. Hitler himself later admitted that this was all a cynical ploy in order to con workers into voting for the Nazi Party, which had no interest in them at all.
To this day, if you spend much time around anti-Semites, the “Jewish Bolshevism” meme continues to ring very loud amongst a particular type of anti-Semite, especially those in the US and Europe. In Russia and Eastern Europe this is one of the principal forms of modern anti-Semitism.
Since the “Jewish Bolshevism” theory has caused so much tragedy in our world, it is essential that we analyze it with clear minds.
Truth is, many Jews were associated with Bolshevism and Stalinism in the Soviet Union. Centuries of 3rd class citizenship, pogroms and Czarist anti-Semitism caused many Russian Jews to be enthusiastic about the revolution that overthrew Czarism.
The evidence of a significant Jewish role during one phase of the early Stalinist regime and in certain areas of government, is available in Plocker’s piece. In particular, during some of Stalin’s murderous purges in the 1930’s, Jews played a very large role, though they were mostly absent from the worst of the killing in 1937-38.
It is true that the three heads of the NKVD, or Stalinist secret police, were Jewish. Under Genrikh Yagodha , who served from 1934-1936, Jews became briefly dominant in the NKVD, when 39% of the officers were Jewish. After Nikolai Yezhov took over in September 1936, the number of Jews dropped precipitously, to 6% of officers. Russians moved up to ⅔ of officers.
It was during the reign of Yezhov that the Stalinist purges entered their most deadly period. Any analysis that attempts to place Soviet Jews as predominant during Stalin’s Great Terror is simply false.
Stalin, himself denounced as an anti-Semite by Trotskyites and militant Jews (Stalin’s so-called anti-Semitism was a major reason for the Stalin-Trotsky split in 1927, yet whether or not Stalin became anti-Semitic later is much more controversial) was surrounded by Jewish women during this period, yet he still purged many Jews from the party, mostly because so many of them were aligned with Trotsky.
Jews were wildly overrepresented amongst Stalin’s worst executioners during a certain period in the 1930’s, even while they were not extremely overrepresented among Stalin’s regime in general.
But after that period, Jews were only 4% of the top killers and the purges, aimed primarily at Trotskyites, were vastly disproportionately hitting Soviet Jews. After 1938, the Jewish role amongst Stalin’s killers were basically absent.
Initially, the Bolshevik Revolution was heavily Jewish. Here are some facts (keep in mind that Jews were 3% of the population during this period):
The Bolshevik Party Central Committee had 9 members in 1917, of which 3 were Jews (33% Jewish). Among the 23 People’s Commissars between 1923-1930, there were 12 Russians, 5 Jews, 2 Georgians (Stalin and Ordzhonikidze), 1 Pole, 1 Moldavian, 1 Latvian and 1 Ukrainian (22% Jews).
In 1922, of the 44,148 members of the Bolshevik Party that had joined before 1917 (the Old Guard, as Lenin referred to them), 7.1% were Jewish. The Old Guard was the most Jewish part of the party.
As you can see in the example above, non-Jews made up 67%, 78% and 93% of the three Bolshevik groupings above. An overwhelming majority of Communists were not even Jewish. Obviously, the “Jewish Bolshevism” theory is on thin ice here.
In spite of the fact that many of Stalin’s top killers were Jewish, the role of Jews in the party began to decline dramatically after 1927-28. Some authors have termed 1917-1927 as the “Jewish era” of the party, since Jewish ideologues played a major role in the party’s thinking, and the party was involved in wild experiments in the areas of sexuality, the family, etc.
For instance, divorce was made ridiculously easy. Attempts were made to get rid of the family unit via communal housing, child care (the communalization of child-raising) and dining halls, since the family unit was seen as bourgeois and the source of capitalism itself. Children’s rights were elevated to the point where kids were encouraged to rebel against and even to defy their parents.
Homosexuality was legalized, and for a while, there was a freewheeling free love scene amongst party members, predictably abused by male party members as such scenes usually are. The Afghan Communist regime saw a similar and little-known freewheeling sex scene amongst party members, an amazing feature in such a deeply conservative society.
Many of the conservative peasantry, many of whom hated the Russian Czarist ruling class for its abuse of them and were therefore attracted to the Communists, were appalled by the free love and anti-family features of the early Bolshevik Party.
Stalin, though an atheist, came from a conservative Russian Orthodox background. As soon as he came into power, he started reversing the radical (“Jewish”) experiments in marriage and family life. Within a few years, all of that was all reverted and socially regressive legislation was in its place.
Concomitantly, the role of Jews in the Communist Party began to decline.
In the 1930’s, even where in one period, many of the leading killers were Jews, many of the victims were also Jewish. As noted above, many of those accused in Stalin’s show trials were Jewish and by the end of the 1930’s, Jews had been almost totally purged from the party. Only notorious Politburo member Lazar Kaganovich (a favorite bogeyman of anti-Semites) remained.
Some Jews have noted that saying that Stalinism was good for the Jews is about as honest as Stalinist propaganda in general. These Jews say that Stalinism was only a little bit better for the Jews than the Holocaust, though that is surely an exaggeration.
It is important to note that the Jews who committed terrible crimes under Stalinism had left the Jewish religion and were operating first and foremost as Communists, not as Jews. This is an essential point, because anti-Semites say that Communist Jews were killers because Jewish religion, culture or genes contains inherent and unchangeable murderous tendencies.
We can rule out Jewish genes being murderous for now since we there is no evidence for this. Further, for centuries, Jewish culture has been represented more by murder victims than murderers. Likewise with Judaism. Granted, Judaism was associated with a lot of killing 2000-3000 years ago and at the moment, but in the interim, once again, it more a religion of the killed than a religion of killers.
Further, almost all Communist Jews renounced both Jewish culture and surely Judaism in favor of Communist culture and Communism as a belief system. In fact, many agitated against “Jewish particularism” (Jewish cultural chauvinism) and there is no evidence that temples fared any better than churches.
Leon Trotsky, asked if he were Jewish, said he was a citizen of the Soviet citizen and an internationalist – i.e., he refused to identify as Jewish. This was a typical mindset of Soviet Jewish Communists. Critics say that these Jews nevertheless retained a strong Jewish identity that informed their behavior but this is hard to prove.
This makes the anti-Semitic rant that “Jewish Communists killed 20 million Russian Christians” particularly vicious.
Considering that so many of the killers’ victims were Jews themselves, it is dubious how much, if any, killing was being deliberately targeted at “Christians” merely for the fact that they were Christians.
In the Ukraine famine of the early 1932-33, about 110 million Soviet peasants were pitted against 10 million wealthy kulaks with a lot of peasant blood on their hands, who had been viciously and murderously exploiting feudal peasants for centuries. Land was collectivized, to the benefit of long-suffering peasants just released from feudal bondage.
Kulaks reacted with violent, “Contra”-like attacks on the collective farms, killing peasants and farm animals, raping women and burning crops. The attempt here was to destroy Russia’s breadbasket and starve the peasants and by extension the nation. In this conflict, Soviet Jews lined up with 110 million peasants versus 10 million kulaks, one group being as “Christian” as the other.
The Ukrainian famine in 1932-33 was a tragedy, to be sure. 1.5 million people died. But the kulaks, deliriously supported by the West, were trying to starve 120 million Soviet citizens. Would that have been better?
A principal cause of the famine was Ukrainian peasants hoarding, withholding and possibly destroying the grain harvest from the state. In the years in question, ⅔ of Soviet grain production was not making it into national coffers, a prospect that harbored serious consequences for feeding the nation.
It is only fair to note that there were also terrible weather conditions in 1932-33 in the Ukraine, and similar weather conditions had caused previous famines in the area.
The number of Stalin’s victims has been grossly exaggerated by anti-Semites and anti-Communists. A mountain of lies, starting with William Randolph Hearst and the White Army, going to Hitler, Robert Conquest and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, extends in a logical line. Wild figures such as 20-110 million are tossed around.
Even more outrageously, the Right argues that Stalin, and Communism in general, killed more people than fascism!
Hard figures are tough to come by, but possibly 225,000 political prisoners died in labor camps from 1921-1953, another 900,000 were executed in the same period (an incredible 700,000 of those were in the purges of 1937-38) and 389,000 died in the resettlement of the Kulaks. That leaves about 1.5 million. A summary of those figures is here.
All of those numbers are quite controversial, with a number of researchers, especially those associated with Robert Conquest, vociferously arguing that the real numbers are much larger. This historical debate may or may not be settled in my lifetime.
Adding in the 1.5 million who died in the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 gives us a figure of 3 million. This includes most of the Leninist period in addition to almost all of Stalin’s reign.
The purges in 1937-38 were not 100% irrational, and all of the victims were not innocent. There had been an active conspiracy involving Trotskyites and former Czarist military officers from at least 1927, mostly involving industrial sabotage . This conspiracy was documented by Americans working with the Soviet regime at the time.
As the conspiracy progressed, Trotsky’s clique negotiated with Nazi Germany in order to get their support for the counterrevolutionary coup that the Trotskyites were planning – a plan to kill the entire leadership of the party. In order to gain the Nazis’ support for the coup, the Trotskyites offered up the large parts of the USSR, including the Ukraine, which is what the Germans demanded for their support.
What would have awaited the Ukrainians after they were handed over to the Nazis as part of the Nazi Lebensraum? The picture is here, and it is not pretty. The Ukrainians were better off under Stalin.
The regime uncovered the plot in 1937-38 and at least some of those executed were involved in the plot. So the Western line that the purges were just a wild murder spree by Stalin “to consolidate power” is at least partly false.
Based on what we know know, Stalin’s assassination of Trotsky in Mexico City in 1940 (now condemned around the world as an act of insane cruelty) was a completely reasonable act.
Those figures are summarized here, from a report based on 9,000 pages of Soviet archives published by a large team of US and Russian authors between 1990-1993. The best-known of the authors were the Russian historians V.N. Zemskov, A.N. Dougin and O.V. Xlevnjuk.
This groundbreaking report was subsequently met with an avalanche of refutations in published books, articles and reports from the anti-Communist Western media machine, all of which recycled the same piles of lies written previously.
About 1.5 million died of famine in the Ukraine, a description of which is provided above. The 1.5 million figure is based on USSR archives. A higher figure of 4.5 million is arrived at by outrageously including as “deaths” people who were never even born.
½ of those who died in labor camps died during WW2, when there were mass shortages of food and medicine throughout the country, in a period where 24 million Soviet citizens died outside of labor camps in the War itself and ½ the country was in flames.
At minimum, 1.6 million people died via political repression under Stalinism.
1.6 million dead is an awful lot of people, but it is not 110 million. Furthermore, under Czarist feudalism, so loved by the West that we actually poured money into the White Army to maintain this insane killing system, fully 3 times as many Russians died per year per capita, year in and year out, as died under Stalinism, even in its worst years. So Czarism was three times deadlier than Stalinism at its worst.
Yet we hear not one word of Czarist killers or feudalist killers – all we hear is of Stalinist and Communist killers. By a reasonable accounting, even with all the Stalinist deaths, Stalin was still saving 1.5 million lives a year, or about 35 million lives by the time he died (the figure needs work, and any progressive who wants to work on it can email me).
This was done by doubling life expectancy in the Soviet Union, which set a world record for a nation doubling life expectancy in the shortest period of time, a record broken only by Mao in 1976 with the doubling of life expectancy in China, who did the same for China with a much larger population.
Both Stalin and Mao saved far more people than they killed. The present discourse about the Soviet Union under Stalin is simply insane. It’s true he killed many people, and there is no excuse for that. With Mao, the number of lives saved must be much greater than 35 million, even counting the disastrous famine of the Great Leap Forward that killed 15 million people.
Anti-Communist pathological liars who reduce Soviet and Chinese rule to mass deaths are mass liars. Capitalism killed, and kills, far more than Stalin and Mao combined. Both rulers saved vastly more lives than they took. There is a reason for this distortion.
35 million lives saved, net, under Stalin should properly be contrasted with 15 million dead, net, by 2004 alone, in the transition to capitalism in Russia since in 1991. 13 years of transition to capitalism was far deadlier than 28 years of than Stalinism.
Yet we hear not one word of capitalist killers, only of Communist killers.
The dead person does not really care how he dies, whether of starvation, disease or a bullet.
One thing that is clear is the outrageous injustice of anti-Semites continuing to bash present-day Jews with the “Commie killer Jew” label, a label with deep origins in Nazism. A look at the comments following Plocker’s article shows that the vast majority of Jews today reject and condemn the Jews who killed in Stalin’s name.
Repost from the old site. I’m sure you antisemites are going to eat this post for breakfast, lunch and dinner.